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Flickr says free account limit won’t impact Creative Commons images uploaded before November 1

Flickr rose from its deathbed last week with a bunch of welcome announcements, such as removing the need for a Yahoo account to log in and giving premium accounts unlimited storage. It wasnt all peaches and cream, however. The photo-hosting platform, which was acquired by SmugMug from Oath (formerly Yahoo) back in April, also revealed it would no longer offer the 1-terabyte limit for free accounts. Moving forward, those on the free plan will have a 1,000-photo and video limit instead. Digging into the nuts and bolts of the change, Flickr said users will have until January 8, 2019 to upgrade to Pro or manually remove content to meet the 1,000-file limit. There will then be a one-month grace period, after which Flickr will actively delete photos and videos — going from the oldest to the newest, based on when they were uploaded. This news also stoked fears that Flickrs vast arsenal of Creative Commons (CC) photos would be impacted by the automatic cull. Many users are concerned such a limit on free account capacity might cause millions of CC images to be deleted from the Commons, Creative Commons CEO Ryan Merkley noted in a blog post at the time. A lot of people have reached out to us directly and asked what we can do. Im confident that together we can find solutions, if we assume goodwill and bring our collective creativity to the problem. To that effect, Flickr today issued a statement confirming both good news and bad news. One of the main reasons we were very interested in buying Flickr was to preserve all those historical photos for the public good, said SmugMug founder and CEO Ben MacAskill. Understandably, everybodys a little worried about losing this treasure of photos. Creative Commons, for the uninitiated, is a U.S. nonprofit that provides a range of standardized copyright licenses to help creatives set out the conditions under which their work can be used by the public, usually with minimal restrictions. Many photographers allow their photos to be used via Flickr under various CC licenses, assuming the photographers terms are followed. In the future, however, any photographer who uploads CC photos to Flickr will have to adhere to the 1,000-file limit or upgrade to a $50/year Pro account. Flickr: Creative CommonsHowever, Flickr is making an exception for historical photos — it will not delete any CC images that were uploaded prior to the day it made the announcement, which was November 1, 2018. Its worth noting here that Flickr also offers a separate service called Flickr Commons, which is a little bit like Creative Commons, except it was built for the myriad institutions that have actively sought to make their digital collections available to everyone, such as NASA, the British Library, and the National Parks Service, among others. All these organizations already have Pro accounts, according to Flickr, either by paying for them or because Flickr provides them with a Pro account free of charge. In short, they all now have unlimited storage as a result of these recent changes, so nothing will be deleted there. Additionally, Flickr said it will come to separate arrangements with charity organizations that are already using its platform, such as UNICEF and Second Harvest, to ensure they arent affected by the latest changes.  Well be working with them to ensure Pro isnt a cost they need to worry about, a Flickr spokesperson said in a statement.

Flickr won’t delete Creative Commons photos when its free tier changes

Flickr Commons images are safe as well. Last week, Flickr announced that it would be changing its free tier, allowing users to store just 1,000 photos and videos rather than providing them with 1TB of free storage as it had in the past. Those wanting unlimited storage would need to upgrade to its Pro plan. However, the company said those sticking with the free tier would need to reduce their stored photos and videos down to the 1,000 limit by February 5th, after which Flickr would begin deleting items until their account was down to 1,000. Now, the company is clarifying what this means for Flickr Commons and Creative Commons users. Flickr Commons hosts photos from institutions and government agencies like The Smithsonian and NASA, and their content often includes historical images whose copyrights have expired or images that are in the public domain. Flickr says those organizations either already had Pro accounts or have now been given a free Pro account. Therefore, their photos and videos are safe and won't be deleted by Flickr. The company also won't be deleting content with Creative Commons licenses. Flickr explains that the Creative Commons organization has helped individual photographers and groups license their work for use by others, and photos and videos uploaded under a Creative Commons license before November 1st, 2018 won't be deleted even if users are over their 1,000 limit. However, while content won't be deleted, those users won't be able to upload more content after January 8th, 2019 until they dip below the 1,000 limit or upgrade to a Pro account. Additionally, nonprofit organizations can fill out a form to request a free Pro account. Flickr will notify those that apply of their status by January 8th.